Thursday, July 1, 2021

Why do so many of us have small faith and small dreams? Part 2


Last week I asked, “Why do so many of us settle for small faith and small dreams?”


But then I also think of those with large faith and large dreams:


All these years later, I still marvel

at the gutsy, plucky faith of Uncle Cam

(Cameron Townsend)

and my new Lomalinda colleagues—

people who, because of that faith,

dreamed bold, daring, dreams.

People who prayed, honorable,

principled, confident prayers.


I also shared with you Lloyd John Ogilvie’s words that so aptly describe Uncle Cam and those who settled in that remote mission compound, Lomalinda. Ogilvie said of such people that Christ “uses [their] imagination to show us what we would not have thought of or worked out for ourselves. . . .


“This requires persistence. . . . It means asking, seeking, knocking [Luke 11:9-10] . . . three steps in using imagination in cooperation with Christ. . . .”


Ogilvie continues:


Some Christians think of solutions we would not have considered.

They have persisted patiently in prayer.

Some are amazingly creative in what they think and say.

Long prayer vigils and complete trust are the reason.

They are like an inventor who waits for, searches,

tests until the great ‘Ah-ha!’ comes.


“[They] do not give up.” 

(Silent Strength for My Life)

Recently I keep coming back to this question: What's the difference between

  • people of bold faith and big dreams, and
  • those who settle for small faith and small dreams? 

Here are some thoughts:


Sometimes we get derailed, maybe by tragedy, or by heartache, or illness—or even boredom. Many years ago, A.B. Simpson wrote of those of us whose “faith grows tired, languid, and relaxed,” whose “prayers lose their force and effectiveness.”


He wrote of those of us who “become discouraged and so timid that a little obstacle depresses and frightens us, and we are tempted to walk around it, and not face it: to take the easier way.”


Even though God and His promises stand ready to help, we wimp out: we complain about the hard work involved in praying—and then waiting for God to answer! And trusting Him!


Instead, maybe we take things into our own hands and try to force events or answers to happen the way we want.


Or we look to other humans and human remedies. As Simpson said, we “walk around some other way.”


“There are many ways of walking around . . . instead of going straight through. . . . How often we come up against something . . . and want to evade the issue with the excuse: ‘I’m not quite ready for that now.’ Some sacrifice is to be made, some obedience demanded, some Jericho to be taken . . . and we are walking around it” (A.B. Simpson, quoted in Streams in the Desert).


In other words, we bury our heads in the sand. We allow—we even welcomedistractions that lure us away from doing the hard work of waiting on God.


Simpson challenges us to put into practice Hebrews 12:12-13: “You have become weak, so make yourselves strong again. Keep on the right path" (NCV).


Or, as the Living Bible words it: “Take a new grip with your tired hands, stand firm on your shaky legs, and mark out a straight, smooth path for your feet. . . .” (See also Isaiah 35:3).


That means we’re to refuse to be weaklings, cowards, those who give up too easily— (that’s often a hard one for me). Instead, we are to be disciplined, persevering, tenacious people—both spiritually and in practical, everyday life.


We are inspired to be that kind of people when we

hang out with those like Uncle Cam

and my Lomalinda neighbors and colleagues.


We are mentored into becoming that kind of people

when we watch them live their faith in action on a daily basis

and over the decades.


What a privilege God gave us when He sent us to work alongside such spiritual giants!  


Come back next week

for more thoughts on

why so many of us

settle for small faith and small dreams.


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